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Kiev’s envoy declines responsibility for Minsk deal commitments

September 16, 2016, 13:43 UTC+3 KIEV

Former Ukrainian President Kuchma says France's Hollande, Germany's Merkel, Russia's Putin and Ukraine's Poroshenko should bear responsibility for the agreements as they put their signatures on it

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Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma

Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma

© Viktor Drachev/TASS

KIEV, September 16. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian president and Kiev’s official representative in the Contact Group for settlement in Donbass, Leonid Kuchma, said on Friday he is not the one who is responsible for the commitments undertaken by the Ukrainian side under the Minsk deal.

The politician reiterated that the talks in the Belarusian capital in February 2015 were held by the leaders of the Normandy Four group - French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko.

"They undertook the commitments…I did not even attend the talks. The Contact Group was some 10 kilometers away from them and then in the morning they brought (the agreements) and we signed them," Kuchma told reporters at the Yalta European Strategy conference in Kiev.

"Merkel, Hollande, Putin and certainly Poroshenko should bear responsibility for this as they put their signatures on it," he stressed.

"If these decisions are not implemented in a way they were written in the protocol, first of all point two, they should shoulder the blame rather than shift it to the Contact Group that is tasked with contacts and not making any decisions. The main decisions should be taken by the Verkhovna Rada, shouldn’t it?" he added.

Speaking at the conference on Friday, President Pyotr Poroshenko refused to implement the Minsk agreements. "We will not get caught in the trap of priorities of the political aspects of the Minsk deal, we will not go there," he stressed.

"We won’t take a single step until the Russian side implements its part regarding the security," Poroshenko said. The Ukrainian president again insisted that this includes transferring control over the border with Russia to Kiev. However, under the Minsk deal, this should take place only after the constitutional reform is carried out in Ukraine, including granting a special status to Donbass on a permanent basis.

The Minsk agreements lay the foundation for a peaceful settlement in Donbass. The deal envisages not only a ceasefire and a withdrawal of weapons, amnesty and restoration of economic ties, but also deep constitutional reforms in Ukraine to decentralize power, granting special status to certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the country’s east.

However, all this just remains a plan. The Ukrainian side has refused to implement the point on amnesty and continues to economically blockade Donbass.

None of the items in the political settlement have been carried out as of yet - there has been no constructional reform, the law on a special status to the region has not been enacted and the law on elections in Donbass has not been passed.

Instead, citing the need to ensure security, Ukraine insists on restoration of its control over a section of the border with Russia, although under the Minsk agreements this should happen only after the elections.

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